Farmers need to be paid for nature restoration, Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, said at the National Ploughing Championships last week.

“I have been clear all the way through the discussions around the nature restoration regulation during the summer, that farmers need to be paid to do this and they need to be supported to do it,” he said.

“We’ve had good schemes in the past in terms of farming for nature, results-based schemes.

“They need certainty and they need a longer-term payment mechanism.

“In that regard, I do think what we’ve been fighting for is a State fund, a nature fund and I think that’s critically important and strategic,” the minister added.